WHEN conductor Israel Yinon first moved to Germany almost 20 years ago, he admits he was uncomfortable.
Born in 1956 in a village near Netanya, Israel
is the son of a Romanian Holocaust survivor father and a mother who lost most of her
Polish relatives in the Holocaust.
"There are good and bad people everywhere," Israel
, who lives near the city of Hanover, told the Jewish Telegraph
theory may come from the story that his
father told him when he
recalled: "When my father was 10-years-old, his
mother was shot in the face by a Romanian soldier.
"But there was a German soldier who rescued her
and took her
"Had my father not told me that as a youngster, I may well have decided never to go to Germany."
The first music that Israel
heard was Romanian folk.
said: "The village where I lived in Israel
was a new town and full of Romanian immigrants, like my father.
So that was the first music that I started to play.
mother came from a musical family and she
inherited a violin from her
suffered tragedy in 1944 when, during an Italian Air Force strike on Tel Aviv, her
father was killed.
father, who escaped from Poland, was called Israel
and my mother named me after him."
His musical talents led him to study conducting and composition at Tel Aviv University in the early 1980s, and later he studied at Jerusalem's Rubin Academy of Music.
In 1990 Israel was invited to work in Germany and rapidly became known when his debut CD, the world premiere recording of the symphonic works of Viktor Ullmann, with the Czech Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, won him the coveted 1993 German Reviewers' Recording-Prize.
said: "I never had even thought about performing in Germany, but it was unavoidable because there were - and still are - so many wonderful musicians there."
As well as his
conducting and composition, he
is respected worldwide for his
personal commitment to the rediscovery of lost works from the Second World War.
In 2003, as chief conductor and musical director of Austria's Graz Symphony Orchestra
devised a series of concerts entitled From the Depths of Oblivion, which featured the music of composers once ostracised by the Nazis.
was later awarded the Gold Medal of Honour of the City of Graz and praised as "a builder of bridges between cultures".
And a year later, he
planned and conducted a gala concert in Berlin to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Yad Vashem museum
said: "Many of the composers ostracised by the Nazis were Jewish, of course, and I did not want them just to be remembered for their time in the concentration camps."
, who was brought up in a secular Jewish family, explained that in almost 20 years in Germany, he
has never encountered any antisemitism.
said: "I have switched myself off from Israeli politics.
"To be honest, after the incursion into Gaza I expected to get many negative comments, but I did not get one.
"In fact, colleagues have been supportive.
They are intelligent people and they understand that there are problems on both sides."
, who returns to his
country "two or three times a year", is heading to Britain to conduct a concert on Tuesday.
explained: "You have to remember that during the Nazi reign, Mendelssohn's
music was persona non grata - people were not allowed to play it, together with lots of other Jewish composers' works.
, who lives with American wife Liza in Germany, has a daughter, 23-year-old Shir'ran.
was studying physics and mathematics, but is now doing composition at Haifa University